Ben Parry (musician)
Ben Parry (born 1965) is a British musician, composer, conductor, singer, arranger and producer in both classical and light music fields. He is the co-director of London Voices, director of Junior Academy in London, and director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain.
Life and career
Parry was born and raised in Ipswich, Suffolk, where his father was an organist and music teacher. He studied at Ipswich School and St Catharine’s College of the University of Cambridge, where he was a choral scholar. He sang in the King’s College Choir and performed in musicals and cabarets.
Early in his career, he was a singer, music director and arranger with The Swingle Singers. With the group, he toured the world and worked with musicians including Pierre Boulez, Luciano Berio and Stephane Grapelli. He wrote over 50 arrangements and compositions for the group and co-produced their recordings for EMI and Virgin Classics.
In 1994, Parry was in the original London production of Cy Coleman's City of Angels at the Prince of Wales Theatre in the West End. In 1995, he and his family moved to Scotland. There, he co-founded the distinguished vocal ensemble, Dunedin Consort, and directed performances at festivals in the UK, Spain, Belgium, France and Canada. He was chorusmaster of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus and director of choral music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) in Glasgow. He directed five productions for Haddo House Opera.
From 2003 to 2008, Parry was director of music at St Paul's School, London. He subsequently moved to Suffolk and took up the post of director at Junior Academy in London, combined with his freelance career. He is co-director with Terry Edwards of the professional choir, London Voices, who have been at the forefront of choral singing in the UK for over 30 years. The choir has performed on the soundtracks of major films, including The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, the Harry Potter series, The Mission, The Golden Compass and The Iron Lady. The choir has performed and recorded with major artists, including Sir Paul McCartney, Dave Brubeck, Bryn Terfel, Angela Gheorghiu and Renée Fleming.
Parry composed a significant amount of choral music, published by Peters Edition. He collaborates regularly with author and lyricist Garth Bardsley, and together they have had works premiered by the BBC Singers, Sheffield Cathedral, Aldeburgh Voices, Chelmsford Cathedral and London Voices.
As a conductor, Parry has worked with the London Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Seville Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, National Youth Orchestra of Wales, Cumbria Youth Orchestra and the Vancouver Youth Symphony. He has sung with the Taverner Consort, Gabrieli Consort, Schutz Choir of London and Tenebrae. Parry is a director of the Eton Choral Courses and has conducted the National Youth Choir of Wales. He conducts Aldeburgh Voices, the resident choir for the Aldeburgh Festival in Snape Maltings, Suffolk.
Parry has made over 60 recordings for EMI, Decca, Collegium, Virgin, Linn and Signum. He is married to violinist Kathryn Parry and they have three children.
- King’s College Choir: William Byrd Great Service (EMI 1987) – singer
- Cy Coleman: City of Angels: original London cast recording (1st Night 1994) – soloist
- Taverner Consort: Purcell Dido and Aeneas (BBC/Sony 1995) – soloist
- Gabrieli Consort: Music for San Rocco (DG Archiv 1996) – singer
- Dunedin Consort: Copland/Barber In the Beginning (Linn 2000) – conductor
- Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Mackerras: Mozart Requiem (Linn 2003) – chorusmaster
- Paul McCartney: Ecce Cor Meum (EMI 2006) – chorusmaster
- Tenebrae: Prayers for Mankind (Signum 2010) – producer